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Social Enterprises are Businesses that are Changing the World for the Better

Rachel Eyre, Corporate Responsibility Manager, Compass Group UK & Ireland

We are proud to work with social enterprise suppliers, supplying everything from Fairtrade cold beverages to hospitality gift boxes. We joined the Buy Social Corporate Challenge in 2020 – a ground-breaking initiative supporting large businesses to direct their procurement spend towards social enterprises. Our procurement business Foodbuy, has been a member since 2019 and spent more than £3.5million with social enterprise suppliers.

There are 100,000 social enterprises in the UK, contributing £60 billion to the economy and employing 2 million people. They are working to tackle some of the biggest challenges we face, from homelessness and the climate emergency, to creating employment opportunities for people marginalised in the labour market.

When social enterprises profit, society profits:

  • 40% of social enterprises are led by women
  • 35% of social enterprises have BAME directors
  • 76% of social enterprises said that they were a living wage employer
  • 88% of social enterprises actively aim to minimise environmental impact
  • 65% of social enterprises expect to increase their focus on sustainability and environmental friendliness
  • 75% of social enterprises consider environmental impact to be of equal or greater importance than costs

From Social Enterprise UK’s ‘State of Social Enterprise’ 2019 Report

We’ve worked with a multitude of suppliers to create jobs, change lives and protect the environment through the Buy Social Corporate Challenge. Highlights of our impact include funding over 250 clean drinking water projects across Africa and India, supporting 75 people out of homelessness in partnership with Change Please and rescuing 50,000 slices of bread to brew Toast Ale.

The Buy Social Corporate Challenge Year 5 Report, released today, shows what an impact businesses can make when they open up their supply chains to social enterprises. Since its launch five years ago, almost £165 million has been spent by partners with social enterprises, helping create 2,030 jobs.

You can find out more in the Buy Social Corporate Challenge Year 5 Report here.

Foodbuy works with social enterprise Divine Chocolate